Take Me Home for Christmas (Whiskey Creek Series #5)

Take Me Home for Christmas (Whiskey Creek Series #5)

by Brenda Novak

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Take Me Home for Christmas (Whiskey Creek Series #5) by Brenda Novak


Christmas is a time for remembering…

Too bad not all memories are pleasant! Everyone in Whiskey Creek remembers Sophia DeBussi as the town's Mean Girl. Especially Ted Dixon, whose love she once scorned.

But Sophia has paid the price for her youthful transgressions. The man she did marry was rich and powerful but abusive. Then he goes missing—and she soon learns that he died running from an FBI probe of his investment firm. Not only has he left Sophia penniless, he's left her to face all the townspeople he cheated….

Sophia is reduced to looking for any kind of work to pay the bills and support her daughter. With no other options, she accepts a job as housekeeper for Ted, now a successful suspense writer. He can't turn his back on her, but he refuses to get emotionally involved.

Will Christmas, the season of love and forgiveness, bring them another chance at happiness?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778315469
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 10/29/2013
Series: Whiskey Creek Series , #5
Edition description: Original
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 260,366
Product dimensions: 4.58(w) x 6.64(h) x 1.08(d)

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak has penned over 45 novels. A two-time Rita nominee, she's won The National Reader's Choice, The Bookseller's Best, The Bookbuyer's Best and many other awards. She runs an annual online auction for diabetes research every May at www.brendanovak.com. To date, she’s raised over $2 million. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.

Read an Excerpt

Sophia DeBussi's husband was gone. As in disappeared. Nowhere to be found. At ninety feet, the Legacy was a sizable yacht—Skip never bought anything except the very best—but not so sizable that a full-grown man could easily be overlooked. The six-member crew had just helped Sophia and her thirteen-year-old daughter scour every inch of the boat.

Other than his cell phone, which he wasn't answering, Skip's things were where they should be, but he was not.

Holding back her long hair, Sophia squinted against the sunshine glinting off the water, trying to see the coast of Brazil a few miles to starboard. Could her husband have gone for an early-morning swim and somehow reached land?

That was a possibility, but it was a remote one. Why would he go off on his own? It was too windy to enjoy the beach today. And although he traveled all over the world for business, she'd never heard of him meeting anyone in Rio de Janeiro.

Besides, he'd planned this trip for their thirteenth anniversary because he wanted to spend quality time as a family. She couldn't imagine he was working, not when this vacation was supposed to be about starting over, about saving their troubled marriage. He'd said he wouldn't take one call. If he'd made that promise just to her, maybe she wouldn't have relied on it. He'd said such things before and hadn't followed through. But he'd also promised their daughter, and he and Alexa were very close. So…where was he?

Sophia gazed down at the water itself. Had he fallen overboard and drowned in the choppy Atlantic?

That thought led to a surge of relief. It was macabre to wish anyone dead, but only if Skip was gone for good would she ever escape him. She'd lived with him long enough to know he'd never willingly let her go. He'd said as much.

The moment Alexa came to the railing to stand beside her, guilt replaced the relief she'd been feeling. Her poor daughter might have lost her father. How could she be happy about that?

"What happened, Mom?" Lexi asked, her big blue eyes filling with tears.

Sophia put an arm around her child's thin shoulders. "I don't know, sweetheart." She kept going over the past twenty-four hours in her mind, but could point to nothing out of the ordinary. Skip had gone to bed with her last night at eleven, as usual. He'd demanded sex, as usual. If he was around, he insisted on some sexual favor at least once a day. She was pretty sure he slept with other women when he was traveling, especially since he was often gone for a week or longer. But she never tried to check up on him. She just did what she had to when he was home to keep the peace, to survive. She knew how he'd act if she refused him. Even if he didn't strike her, he'd sulk for days.

Except for the embarrassment of having to tell everyone, including their daughter, that she'd tripped and fallen into a door or slammed on her brakes and hit the steering wheel, she would've hated the sulking even more. Sometimes it lasted far longer than the bruises.

Alexa wiped her wet cheeks. "You really don't remember when he got up this morning?"

They'd already been over this. Sophia didn't remember. She didn't rise as early as he did. It wasn't as if he'd allow her to have a job. On a school day, she typically went back to bed after Alexa left, staying there until ten or so. Then she'd get up slowly, work on maintaining her beauty, which was all-important to Skip, and drink away the rest of the afternoon. Alcohol was the one thing that seemed capable of dulling the disappointment, not to mention the boredom, she lived with on a constant basis.

But it also gave him a club to use when he needed it. I thought I was getting something special when I married you. You were someone, remember? The mayor's only child. The most popular girl in school. Now look at you. You're nothing but a lazy drunk.

She tried to shove those hateful words into the back of her mind, where they resided. They made her crave a gin and tonic, but it was too early for that. She couldn't have one, anyway, she reminded herself. Not only had she just spent thirty days in rehab, she'd promised Skip, as part of their "starting over," that she'd really quit the booze this time. He'd threatened to have her committed to a mental institution like her mother if she didn't.

She wasn't sure what he'd use to make her seem crazy, but he'd figure it out. Her mother's condition, the fact that there was mental illness in the family, definitely wouldn't work in her favor. "Mom?" Lexi said.

Sophia pulled herself out of the whirlpool of her thoughts. "He didn't wake me, honey. I'm sorry. He didn't tell me he was leaving, either. I would've remembered."

"Are you sure? He says you forget a lot. That you'd live in a bottle if you could."

He often criticized her to Lexi. He was the dazzling father who swooped in bearing outlandish gifts. The parent who'd promised her a Porsche for her sixteenth birthday. He never had to raise his voice to insist she do chores, finish her dinner or improve her grades, because he wasn't around long enough. "I've quit drinking," Sophia said softly. "That's why I went away, remember? Why you had to stay with Grandma and Grandpa."

Alexa didn't pursue the old argument. She was too bewildered by her father's disappearance. "This is just so. weird."

"It is weird." Sophia could tell that the captain and his mates agreed. She'd heard them asking each other if anyone had seen Mr. DeBussi on deck in the wee hours. No one had. No one had heard him, either. But with the engine chugging away and the waves splashing against the sides of the boat, would anyone notice if he fell overboard?

"I keep thinking he has to be here somewhere.." Dressed in cut-offs and a white tank, Alexa leaned on the railing as her troubled eyes ran over the deck, the bar, the stairs going below. "I'm so worried."

Sophia didn't want her to have to accept the worst quite yet. She didn't want her to suffer at all. Alexa was the only reason she'd remained in her loveless marriage. Skip had told her she'd never see her daughter again if she left, and she believed him. He had the support of a rich and powerful family who lived in the same small town they did. With her own mother diagnosed with schizophrenia and her father dead, she had no one. "He might turn up."

A fresh tear rolled down Lexi's cheek. "But you heard the captain. He said there's no way Dad could've reached shore. No one could swim that far."

The captain would've been right had he been talking about anyone else. But he didn't know Skip, not like she did. Skip could do anything he set his mind to. Sophia had never met such a strong-willed individual. Or such a controlling one.

She pulled her daughter into a hug. "We've contacted the U.S. Consulate, and they've called the police. We'll be docking at Rio to wait while they check the city and the beaches. We won't leave without him. Let's not give up hope too soon."

Alexa's head bumped against Sophia's chest as she nodded, but she was obviously struggling to believe those measures would do any good. She couldn't picture her father jumping over the side in the middle of the night and swimming for shore—and neither could Sophia.

The captain approached. "I've secured a slip at Marina de Gloria, Mrs. DeBussi," he said. "We should be in port in less than thirty minutes."

"Thank you, Captain Armstrong."

His nod had the same effect as a salute. He turned away, but then he paused.

"Is there anything else?" she asked.

"I just—" he faced her again "—I wanted to warn you."

A sense of foreboding chilled her despite the ninety-degree weather. "About."

"The police. When I spoke to them on the radio, they…they asked me if…" He cleared his throat as his eyes flicked to Alexa, and she nudged her daughter toward the stairs.

"Lexi, why don't you go below and check our bedroom one more time, okay? Make sure everything of Daddy's is there, even his shaving kit."

"We know it's there," she protested.

Sophia gave her another little push. "Check again, will you?"

Reluctantly, her daughter headed to the stairs, casting a frown over one shoulder before she disappeared from view.

"What is it, Captain Armstrong?" Sophia asked. "They had questions about your marriage, Mrs. De-Bussi. If I've ever seen the two of you fight, that sort of thing."

He hadn't seen them fight. No one had. Skip kept up appearances at all costs. His reputation as the man who had everything meant more to him than something as malleable as the truth. He never grew violent when someone else was around, and that included Lexi. If he got upset, he simply punished Sophia later.

But anyone who was astute could no doubt feel the tension. Sophia was terrified of him. Even when he wasn't overtly abusive, she endured many small but vicious reprisals.

"And you told them…what?" Her heart thumped so loudly she was afraid he could hear it. Skip wouldn't like this intrusion into their personal lives, so why had he left her vulnerable to it?

"That I don't know anything about your private life. But…I want to reassure you that even if I did, I wouldn't speak of it."

She found his loyalty comforting, especially because she would never have taken it for granted. She barely knew him, had hardly ever spoken to him. It didn't matter that he was old enough to be her father, or that he was married himself. Her husband was too jealous. Any interaction would've risked the captain's job. "Thank you, Captain Armstrong."

"You're welcome. I have the utmost respect for you, Mrs. DeBussi. But…"

She pulled the gauzy white scarf she'd paired with her summer sheath dress tighter. "Yes?"

He lowered his voice. "You should be prepared. They will ask you the same thing."

Suddenly she grasped why he was telling her this. "You don't mean… They don't think I might've harmed Mr. DeBussi?" The irony of anyone suspecting her of hurting him almost made her laugh.

"They have to rule out that possibility."

She could understand why, of course. But how would she convince them? Although the U.S. Consulate was acting as a liaison, she'd be dealing with foreign police; she couldn't even speak their language. What if they arrested her?

Her face must've betrayed her panic because the captain took her elbow and led her to a chaise. It was nothing he'd risk doing in her husband's presence, but she was grateful for his kindness.

"They won't be able to prove anything, Mrs. DeBussi," he said. "You just need to remain strong and insistent."

They won't be able to prove anything? What did that mean? That he suspected her—but didn't blame her? She dared not ask him to clarify. Forcing a smile, she said, "Of course."

If only "strong" felt like a possibility. She'd been strong once, even willful and rebellious. She regretted a great many things about those days, had been paying for her sins ever since. She considered living with Skip to be part of her penance. But the one attribute she'd lost that she wished she'd retained was her fighting spirit.

Maybe it was there, somewhere. But having a child had completely disarmed her.

2 Sophia slipped out of Alexa's room. She was finally asleep, and Sophia was grateful. It had been a long, hard day. Although she could scarcely believe it, there'd been no word from Skip. As promised, the police had met them at noon, when they docked at the marina. While a handful of crime-scene techs went through the boat, searching for blood or any other clue, an investigator had spoken to her. In a heavy Portuguese accent, he'd asked all the questions one might expect under the circumstances.

And Sophia had lied in response to almost every one of them.

What made you decide to take a trip to Rio?

Where better to celebrate our anniversary? We've been meaning to get away for months.

Do you consider you and your husband to be a happy couple?

Oh, yes. We've never been more in love. Is there anyone, maybe a member of the crew, who might've been angry with your husband?

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Take Me Home for Christmas 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 102 reviews.
KerryACroucier More than 1 year ago
Take Me Home for Christmas by Brenda Novak I hate to say it, but “Take Me Home for Christmas” is only the second novel I have read by Brenda Novak, and the first contemporary, but she has me hooked! “Take Me Home for Christmas” is the fifth book in Novak’s Whiskey Creek series, but it can easily stand alone. Whiskey Creek is a small town where everyone knows everyone. In high school, Sophia DeBussi was the “mean” girl, and completely self-centered. She had plenty of missteps, but Ted Dixon was her high school sweetheart and the one person knew she was more than the person everyone else in town saw. Unfortunately, while Ted was away for college, made a mistake and ended up dumping Ted for Skip DeBussi, the richest boy in town. Everyone thought she had it all, until the day Skip disappears from their yacht on an anniversary, “let’s start over” trip. That is when we find that looks can be deceiving, in more ways than one. Skip was not only abusive, but a thief who embezzled most of the money he was supposed to have invested, including the money he should have invested for the town. Sophia is left with her daughter, and nothing else. Another friend convinces Ted to give Sophia a job, and he begins to unravel the truth of Sophia’s life for the past 13 years. Sophia faces an uphill battle hard to rebuild a life that she and her daughter can be proud of, all the while trying to find a place in the small town where her husband spent his life acting like he was above everyone else and then stole from those same people. Novak creates characters that are real people. Novak has created a heartwarming story of second chances, as Sophia works to redeem herself. Novak has populated Whiskey Creek with everyday people and creates a story that makes the reader care about the characters and what happens in their lives. This may be my first visit to Whiskey Creek, but it won’t be my last. I can’t wait to read the prior books, and any new ones. Novak is added to my “must-read” author list!
Marhull More than 1 year ago
I love the Whiskey Creek series, and Take Me Home for Christmas is a particularly good book. I loved the way the characters interacted, all three – Sophia, Eve and Ted, and I liked how the Baxter issue of homosexuality was dealt with at the Halloween party. My children are older now, but grandchildren aren’t, so the way Lexi was portrayed and how she handled things was good too. I couldn’t put the book down.
booklover4170 More than 1 year ago
I have read every book written so far in the Whiskey Creek series beginning with the novella WHEN WE TOUCH and each book became my favorite. I found WHEN SUMMER COMES to be my all time favorite and never thought another installment of the series would top that but once again Brenda Novak proved me wrong with TAKE ME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS. Sophia DeBussi was the most hated girl in Whiskey Creek after what she did to Ted Dixon. After 15 years the close knit group of friends who meet for coffee every Friday at Black Gold Coffee still hold a grudge and believe she got what she deserved with the death of her husband. The townspeople and her in-laws treat her as the town pariah and hold her responsible for the money that Skip stole. Eve Harmon comes to stand by her and she’s the one person Sophia least expects to become her friend especially with her being such good friends with Ted Dixon the spurned ex-lover. As the book progresses you feel Sophia’s pain as she struggles with depression, fights through the urges to drink as she is a recovering alcoholic, deals with the vandalism to her home, coming to terms with losing everything, taking care of her daughter who’s friends have turned on her. Through all of this you see Sophia grow stronger, she begins to fight back and stand up to those who hold her responsible for her husbands action. But what surprises her most is that her ex-lover Ted Dixon takes her in, gives her a job and becomes her knight in shining armor. He fights his feelings for her that have never died so he tries to start up a relationship with Eve Harmon but they both soon figure out that they are better off being friends. The best part of the entire book is KARMA finally comes around and bites Chief Stacy in the ASS but I will leave that for you to read.  Brenda Novak hits another one out of the park shows you that even when you hit rock bottom and you feel the world is against you that you will survive. You will come out stronger, you have more confidence in yourself and most of all you find out that forgiveness is always possible and the most unlikely ally is the one person who gives you the strength you need to fight back. I give this book a 5 star. I highly recommend it. It can also be read as a stand alone.
rhonda1111RL More than 1 year ago
4 STARS I kept putting this book off because I thought I would not like Sophia's character. There were parts of it I did not admire, but so many more parts I liked. I was not that happy with Ted's character either. I was surprised how much I enjoyed their story. How mad I got at other characters in the book. Especially the Sheriff. The plot was good. It kept me reading so much that I did not put the book down until I had finished it. I was very invested into their story. I wanted things to workout for everybody. The pacing was good. Lots of drama all over the place. I was so disappointed in so many characters with authority in the book. Lots of different relationships problems to overcome. Their were some love scenes that I skipped over. I liked seeing the old characters from previous books show up again. So if you have waited like me to read Take Me Home for Christmas don't wait any longer it is a good story. I was given this ebook so I could honestly review it from Netgalley and Harlequin. Published October 29th 2013 by Harlequin MIRA 400 pages ISBN:0778315460
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
 This is the story of Sophia and Ted...they are a couple deep with history and past mistakes. Brenda Novak once again brings the characfers to life and makes you really care for them. Sophia was the girl in high school who had it all..and she paid dearly for a big mistakehat she made back then and also lost Ted in the process. This book captures the spirit of the holiday season so well. It is about two people brought back together and unable to resist the pull of the season of hapiness, love, and forgiveness.
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Sophia DeBussi with her daughter, Alexa, comes back to Whiskey Creek to escape the devastation of her life. Sophia's husband, Skip, stole money from his investors. Now he is dead and the FBI is investigating his crimes. Sophia is overwhelmed. Everything is gone. Now she needs be strong for her daughter and start a new life for the two of them. The town's people are angry and resentful. She has no one to turn to except the man who's love she rejected. Ted helps her provide for herself and her daughter but can he forgive her? Can Sophia find the strength to overcome her demons? Brenda Novak has written an intensely emotional story of pain, forgiveness and second chances. Both Sophia and Ted carry deep emotional scars . They need to find forgiveness and to move on. Brenda has the talent to create characters that have depth and intense emotions that grab your heart. I know that when I read one of her books that she will bring me to tears with her powerful narrative. Take Me Home For Christmas is no exception. I never miss one of her books.
LovingNate More than 1 year ago
I was given an ARC for an honest review! I had never read a Brenda Novak book! This book has made me a fan. This book is well written and it took me on a very emotional journey! I love a book where I can get emotionally invested in the characters. This is a great book to curl up with! Thanks for the opportunity to read this book and to show me this great author I was missing out on.
smutbookjunkie More than 1 year ago
Take Me Home for Christmas is a wonderful example of how unconditional love can overcome almost anything. Sophia and her daughter have just had the rug ripped out from them during their trip to Brazil to celebrate Sophia and Skip's 13th wedding anniversary. Everything Sophia knew about her husband had been a lie. He betrayed her and left her and Alexa with a huge mess to clean up. Ted is Sophia's jilted ex-boyfriend and is still bitter that she chose Skip over him. When she walked away 14 years ago she took a piece of his heart with her.  Soon Sophia has no one to turn to except Ted. Will flames reignite? Or will Ted fall for someone else? Brenda Novak had me tied up in knots wondering if Sophia was going to be able to get through this terrible tragedy. Brenda did a superb job developing the characters in this novel. Brenda was spot on in her research regarding Sophia and her condition. Alexa's pain was very realistic and my heart broke when she started having problems at school. Of course, I could not stand Skip after what he did to his wife and daughter. What a jerk. Eve's character was so sweet and caring and the last thing I wanted to see was her get hurt. I hope that Brenda writes a book about Eve next. Ted was not my favorite at first, but that changed after he went to the school and stood up for Alexa. Much to my surprise, this story did not center around Christmas. The plot was dynamic and this book is a little dark actually with a shady sheriff to boot. I did lose some sleep on this one because I wanted to see what was going to happen next.  If you believe that all things happen for a reason bad or good and that true unconditional love can conquer anything in its path then you will enjoy Take Me Home for Christmas.
booknerdDS More than 1 year ago
Take Me Home for Christmas by Brenda Novak *I received a free ARC of Take Me Home for Christmas by Brenda Novak in exchange of an honest review* Loved, loved, loved this book. This is what I like to call a life-interrupting-reading kind of book. Life just gets in the way of your reading but all you want to do is read the story. This is my first Brenda Novak book and it was amazing. First, her storyline was so original. There are no perfect characters in this book! She also makes the story so real that you just want to keep reading and find out what happens next. I never read any of the other Whiskey Creek Novels but it did not have an impact on my ability to follow the story line. First, Sophia DeBussi was a high school “mean girl”/ “spoiled-rich-princess” type. Through many different events she ends up penniless and homeless with her 13 year old daugher Alex. From the beginning we learn that Sophia was in a very abusive marriage with the town “has it all” husband. Skip was wealthy, good-looking and a basic scumbag. Sophia didn't have any friends because of her past behavior and her marriage to Skip. So when Skip rips off more than half the town everyone at Whiskey Creek holds Sophia accountable. They literally rip her home apart and take everything from her. Sophia is very pitiful and in a very pitiful situation. With the help of her daughter and new found friend-Eve she starts to slowly get on her feet. The process is a long and difficulty one and Sophia has some demons in her closet that she has to fight in the process. I loved how Ms. Novak showed her process and I especially loved the little temptation she threw in at the end! ( I don't want to give it away) Notice I have not mentioned Sophia's love interest-Ted. I loved how Ms Novak handled their relationship also! Ted and Sophia dated when Ted was in college but basically she cheated on him and got pregnant with Skip's daughter. Ted and Sophia never got over each other and it takes them a very long time to finally find their way into each others lives and develop a friendship. I thought Ted was such a great guy. I only hated the way he included Eve in his love-triangle. I also hated that Eve and Sophia drifted apart... BUT! Like all great redemption stories Sophia overcomes her demons, she becomes her own women, and finally becomes the person that she always wanted to be. I loved this book and am going to re-read it and recommend it !
Catie_Mason More than 1 year ago
Great plot. This is a contemporary romance that seems impossible. The couple have been in love with each other, but have been without each other for years. I like the small town setting.
Samantha_Carolan_Marcinko More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. Each book in the Whiskey Creek series gets better and better. This story was emotional and intense from the very beginning. There is no lead up to the trouble, no lead up to the pain, no lead up to the torment for Sophia. The progression of Ted and Sophia's relationship is what really pulled at my heart. Having known a little of their history through the previous books, I was already invested in their relationship and their lives. It hurt to see Sophia going through the pain of what the town put her through. It hurt to feel the struggles she went through trying to prove she could be independent and fully disserving of her daughter and a better life for herself. Being able to be with Sophia as she went through everything she did to get her life back, to fight against everyone out to get her, the determination to do everything she could to make a life for her and her daughter and the passion she felt for Ted every single day they were apart was a joy. With Ted being the hurt party from their past and holding on to the pain and resentment, it took him longer to face the reality that he was meant to be with Sophia, that she was a different person and no matter how hard he tried he would always love her. I felt bad for Eve that she was so hopeful about their relationship and future together, but only slightly. She seemed to put too much hope and emphasis on their relationship being the answer to her prayers. Ted knew he shouldn't have gotten involved with Eve, but being scared and hurt made him do something that turned out badly for everyone involved. Thankfully in the end Ted learned to trust his heart and do whatever he could to be with the woman he has always loved. And Sophia took the chance on love that she should have taken fourteen years ago. Can't wait for the next installment of Whiskey Creek.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everyone remembers Sophia as someone that was stuck up in school, played a part in killing a friend, and then she up and married a rich man and left her one true love. They can't just forgive her. Skip is a wealthy man that puts on a good front. He wants everyone to think he is the richest man alive with the best of everything... even the best wife. Skip makes things look good on the outside but at home secretly abuses Sophia and makes her do a lot of things she doesn't want to do. When Skip takes his wife and daughter on a dream vacation then ends up missing, Sophia secretly hopes that he is gone forever. Not until after his body ends up found drowned on the Brazil shore does life really turn ugly. The FBI gets involved and turns up evidence of how much Skip had tricked people into investing in him and how much money he stole from so many, including the wonderful people of Whisky Creek. Sophia is left with nothing and without any options. Ted has grown a lot in the last 14 years and is now a successful suspense writer. He still finds himself in love with Sophia though and can't turn his back on her. Ted has an opening for a house maid and against his better judgement he offers the job to Sophia. He thinks he can keep his distance from her and keep it all business but when they are in the house together for so many hours, love finds a way to pull them back together! Will the past be to much or will love find a way to prevail?! This was an amazing story to end this great series. I know I will find myself reading this series again very soon.
Marianna-ALustForReading More than 1 year ago
Sophia DeBussi hasn't been all that nice to the people of Whiskey Creek. In high school she was the mean girl. The spoiled, rich, gets whatever she wants girl. Thirteen years ago, she broke Ted Dixon's heart when she married Skip DeBussi. She has since continued to live in the lap of luxury; or so everyone believes. On the outside her life looks perfect: rich husband, huge house, fancy cars, designer clothes, etc. But what no one sees is the verbally, emotionally and physically abusive husband that has pushed her to depression and alcoholism. Then while on their anniversary vacation with their daughter, Skip mysteriously disappears. Part of her is concerned while the other part is relived he is gone. But her world comes crashing down around her when the FBI informs her that Skip is wanted for fraud and then his body washes up on the shores of Brazil. Her "loving" husband and left her and their daughter with literally nothing except a town full of angry people he robbed. How can she get herself back on her feet when everyone hates her. Ted still hasn't forgiven Sophia for what she did to him over a decade ago. At first he doesn't give a damn about what she is going through now. But when he sees everyone in town ganging up on her, he feels like he has to do something. He might still be angry, but he isn't heartless. So when no ones steps up to help her, he offers her a job as his housekeeper and assistant. While she works for him, Ted starts to learn the truth about her marriage and sees just how much she has changed over the years. Can he finally forgive Sophia for breaking his heart and marrying another man? Can their reconnection go deeper than friendship and back to the deep love they once shared? Take Me Home For Christmas is book five in the Whiskey Creek series, but each story can be read as a stand alone. I read novella 0.5, When We Touch, over a year ago and enjoyed it, but I just haven't been able to read the rest yet. Skipping the 4 books in between didn't matter at all. The author does a good job of filling in about the backgrounds of the supporting characters without being too wordy about, which I find sometimes happens. It is just the right amount of information so that I know what is going on with everyone but also makes me want to go back and read them all to fill in the details. Sophia's and Ted's story proved to be an emotional one for me. Sure she made mistakes, but that was in high school and everyone deserves another chance. It both pissed me off and broke my heart that people were so mean to her now. What her husband did wasn't her fault yet everyone in town is out for her blood. Even Ted's attitude was pretty jerky in the beginning. She has so much on her plate with a 13 year old daughter struggling in school and not a dime to her name and he is the only one trying to help. But what really killed me and brought tears to my eyes is how Sophia felt that all the abuse she got from her husband Skip was deserved. That it was her punishment for all the awful things she did in her youth. No one deserves what she has suffered and I really wanted to see Ted put the past behind him and pursue their long overdo happily ever after. I found that it ended rather abruptly and I would have liked a little more of an epilogue, but overall it was an enjoyable read. I definitely plan on working the rest of the Whiskey Creek novels into my reading in the future.
Arch_Angel More than 1 year ago
I’m embarrassed to admit this is my first Brenda Novak novel, however, it’s an error I intend to remedy. Take Me Home for Christmas is the type of story that grabs you by the heart and squeezes it relentlessly until you are cursing, crying and eventually cheering out loud as you navigate the myriad of emotions experienced from beginning to end. Thrown together through adversity, Sophia and Ted must overcome years of animosity, betrayal and deception to unearth the feelings that have never truly died, but remained buried due to circumstance. But can a woman consumed by self-loathing and a man unable to trust, breakthrough the barriers of doubt to set their mated souls free? While this story has a very important journey to follow to ensure you understand the depth of misery this young woman has endured in private, it also evolves to show that while cliché to some, love really can conquer all and that Christmas should always exemplify forgiveness, and the joy and happiness we feel when surrounded by those we love. This is not my usual genre, but I found myself falling in love with not only the storyline and characters, but the author’s free flowing style and exceptional writing talent along the way. A story for the true romantic, so have some tissues handy and guard your heart!! I received an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.
hcollins1 More than 1 year ago
I devoured this book!! No, seriously, DEVOURED! I sat down to start reading it and the next thing I know I am done (and it's 3 am, but that's beside the point)! The characters were amazing, and their story is one I will not forget anytime soon! This is really just one of those stories that makes you feel really good once you have finished and will have you wanting to read it again and again. My only complaint about this book was the last four lines. I would have loved to have seen an epilogue as a way of ends, but don't let that discourage you from reading ir. The last for lines in no way make or break the book, I just would have liked more. I definitely recommend this book and I know personally, I will be getting the other books in this series to get a better feel for all the other characters. I received an ARC from the author for an honest review.
KNIngram More than 1 year ago
Another Great Addition to Whiskey Creek. Brenda Novak delivers another great story of a less than perfect heroine overcoming circumstances and her own bad decisions. With the whole town against her, and Novak's heroines always shine when the community comes out in force, Sophia is more than ready to throw in the towel. Then an unexpected friendship rallies her enough to try to take control of her own disgraceful life. Sophia must struggle through a battered self-image and outside forces that would see her destroyed to rebuild her life or to even feel worthy of being loved. Not only is Take Me Home for Christmas hard to put down, but it makes you anxious to come back to find out what's next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have recently discovered Brenda Novak and she is my new favorite author!  The Whiskey Creek series keeps you wanting more.  Sophia  learns hard life lessons in her marriage to Skip.  Sophia doesn't have any friends due to being the mean, rich kid so nobody really knows her in to adult hood.  She is judged on who she was.  This is a story about a woman that was beat down in more ways than one by her husband, but finds a way to trust and love again.  This is such a wonderful story that I cannot wait for the next book!  You cannot wait to read the next story of a small town!
hockeygirl1 More than 1 year ago
Once again Brenda Novak does an amazing job. This book shows how fast a person (Sophia) can go from having everything to nothing in a blink of an eye.She was known as a "mean girl" She had previously dumped her high school boyfriend Ted for Skip the richest boy in town. Everyone thought Sophia had it all money, and perfect family. However, she was living in an abusive husband. When they are suppose to be on an anniversary yacht trip, her husband disappears, she finds out he embezzled money from almost everyone in town. She is left with no money to support her and her daughter. the town blames Sophia. Her daughter is being bully at school. She ends up working for Ted while trying to turn her life around. Will people forgive her for her past mistake? Will she be able to build a new life with Ted? The story draws a person in. At first I was like Sophia is facing karma, but after learning about the things in the past I felt sorry for what she had to live though. My only complaint is that towards the end of the book it felt a little rushed.
TinaStriegel More than 1 year ago
Yea for author Brenda Novak!!! She has done it again with Take Me Home for Christmas book #5 in her Whiskey Creek series! At first I was skeptical if I was going to like it because I didn't really care for Sophia. But has the story progressed my heart went out to her. She has had such a hard life with Skip. But when Skip is no longer in the picture it seem that her life was starting to change. This is story is all about second chances in life and love which I truly enjoyed!! Thank you to the author for allowing me to review this book. I can't wait until the next book in the series is out.
mary8808 More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC from the author for my honest review, so her it is. This is a great story. Sophia learns that her almost perfect life (at least the public view) was over. When Skip (her husband) of 14 years takes her and their daughter Alexa on a cruise to Brazil and he goes missing. When the FBI get involved, she looses everything and then some. And for a recovering alcoholic the stress and depression can not be a good thing. She only has one friend Eve and a promising job with the only man she every truly loved. Can Sophia and Alexa get their lives on track? Will people stop hounding her for what they lost? Brenda Novak has a way of making you feel the emotions she has written. You will feel the pain and isolation Sophia and Alexa feel and the vengeance from some of the townspeople, even from Skip's family. This is a story you should read and enjoy it, there is a HEA for Sophia and Alexa with a little help from Ted and FBI agent Freeman. Looking forward to reading more from this series and Brenda Novak.
Allie_267 More than 1 year ago
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC for an honest review.I love anything by Brenda Novak and this story did not disappoint. This is Ted and Sophia's story. Both of these characters have been through a lot. Even for a "mean" girl like Sophia you really wanted to root for her to come out on top.I loved this story and it grabbed me from the first sentence. It was emotional and I couldn't help but cry with Sophia. I think Ted and Sophia's story was my favorite out of all the Whiskey Creek novels. I highly recommend it you won't be disappointed.
Emily-SBDR More than 1 year ago
First off, this is my first ever Brenda Novak novel and let me just say that after I finished Take Me Home for Christmas I went and added all of her books to my TBR list. Take Me Home for Christmas is such a wonderful story. I know everyone that is a Whiskey Creek Series fan has been looking forward to Ted and Sophia's story and now I know why. This story completely warmed my heart at some parts and almost broke it in others. We start with Sophia's husband having disappeared. As a single mother left penniless and alone Sophia struggles to make ends meet while the townspeople continue to make her life hell at every turn. There are a few exceptions. Even though some of his friends invested money with Sophia's ex and lost everything they invested, Ted and his close group of friends refuse to hold Sophia responsible for for her husband's crimes. And while the townspeople are demanding their slice of the pie back Sophia is struggling to hold on to anything that she has left. I was so outraged at the way Sophia was treated, I understand the hurt these people went through but Sophia graciously offered them anything she had to help repay them and they still demanded more. Villain of the Year award goes to Chief Stacy. He was the ring leader of the backlash against Sophia and I was so wishing that he would get a taste of his own medicine. Meanwhile, Ted reaches out a helping hand to Sophia, and while she would love to refuse, she had to swallow her pride and think logically. The exchanges between Ted and Sophia made me laugh with their banter and ache with their sadness. These two have such a complicated past to work out and it takes some time amidst all of the other current drama surrounding them.  This book gave me so many mixed emotions. There were times when I could completely understand Ted and his decisions and other times where I just wanted to shake him or slap him upside the head. Same goes for Sophia. She started out rocky but, with the help of Eve she got back on track. However, she is dealing with much more than the loss and betrayal of her husband and the hatred of the town. Sophia has a secret that not too many people know about. She thought she had her situation under control, until the stress begins to wear on her and her demons find her in a moment of weakness. I really felt for Sophia, and her daughter, Alexa. They have been through so much and are still able to hold their heads up and push through. Ted is a big helping factor in Sophia's ability to turn her life around. Ted on the other hand is confused up one side and down the other. He can't fathom how he got into his current predicament and he begins to act rash. In my opinion, total human reaction. He can't control a part of his life, so he goes and potentially screws up another part of it. Eventually, he is able to work it all through but, it takes some understanding and trust from the people in his life.  As a whole I absolutely loved this book. It is gut-wrenching, and heart-warming. Hilarious and devastating. It is a romance but, it tells a much bigger and grander story than a couple finding love. It's a story of a second chance at love, a woman righting her wrongs, a man learning to trust and love again, a woman becoming her own person again and so much more. Take Me Home for Christmas engaged and hypnotized me and I am so thrilled to have read it. Trust me when I say you will not regret reading this book. Brenda Novak wrote a beautiful story and I cannot wait to return to Whiskey Creek. Side note to Whiskey Creek Lovers: You do get quite a few glimpses of your favorite characters from past books in Take Me Home for Christmas. For Whiskey Creek Newbies: This is #5 in a series, but I didn't feel lost a bit. Ms. Novak gives you just enough information about the other couples to entice you to go read their stories but, I don't believe there are any major spoilers. I also want to thank Brenda for reaching out to me and asking me to review this book, it was truly wonderful and has been added to my favorites for 2013! Happy Reading! *ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book for free and I assume it to be another boy meets girl, life happens, and now they're back together again story! To my surprise, it tugged at my heart strings and made me examine myself, and my attitude towards others. There is Sophia seeking redemption and a new life, facing a whole host of positive and negative attitudes from the whole town.   Sure she made some mistakes, but isn't everyone entitled to second chances? This is where it got me where it counts.  If I had been part of this town, would I have been an Eve, a Ted or the locusts? A must read.  See where you stand!
ILuvBooks25 More than 1 year ago
This was my first book that I read in the Whiskey Creek series and the second book by Brenda Novak so I'm still learning what type of author she is. Having not read any of the previous books in this series I liked that before you read the book she introduced you to the characters in the first couple pages with a short description. This allowed me to get to know names of characters I would be reading.  Now to the story I really liked this book because it involved a little bit of mystery with the romance which I thought fit well together. I though she so did a good job of giving the readers a back story on the characters so you know what brought them to who they are today. In addition I liked that although you knew there was something between the two main characters Sophia and Ted she built up to their story and allowed you to learn more about Sophia and her past instead of getting right to the romance. Lastly I also liked how she incorporated Sophia`s daughter Alexa and showed what she went through with her dad`s actions of swindling money out of investors. I am quite interested to go back now and read the other books and to see how they compare. Lastly very excited to see what kind if story she writes for Eve who was a part of this book. All in all very happy with this book and have found Another author to add to my book shelf.
Robbiebee More than 1 year ago
When her boyfriend left for college, Sophia Debussi made a mistake. Pregnant, she married the baby's father and wound up the victim in an abusive relationship. But now her husband is dead, having swindled nearly everyone in Whiskey Creek out of money and leaving Sophia to weather the fall out. Having had a reputation as a mean girl in high school and having hidden herself away during her marriage, Sophia has no friends to lean on, no support. Left with no options, she takes the only job she can get - housekeeper for the boyfriend she cheated on. Ted Dixon is now a famous novelist, but he hasn't forgotten how Sophia hurt him. Of course, he also hasn't forgotten the feelings they shared. Now, as they spend more time together, Ted finds himself protecting Sophia, then admiring her until the holiday spirit leads them to more. Brenda Novak has done it again. Home to Whiskey Creek is an inspiring story of strength and love that will have you angry, and laughing and crying and celebrating the story of love that never died.